The Front Royal Town Council granted Dynamic Life Ministries Inc. permission to bury the body of founder and longtime pastor Walter C. Rogers on its property.
The council approved on Monday a special-use permit so the church can create a 10-foot by 10-foot cemetery at its 1600 John Marshall Highway property.
The Town Council and the Planning Commission held a special joint meeting Monday to consider the permit. No one spoke at the joint public hearing on the permit.
Planning Commission Chairman Darryl Merchant, Vice Chairman Daniel Wells and members Connie Marshner and Micheal Williams voted in favor of recommending that the council approve the permit request. Commissioner Glenn Wood did not attend the meeting.
Vice Mayor R. Wayne Sealock and council members Melissa DeDomenico-Payne, Joshua Ingram, Amber Morris, H. Bruce Rappaport and Duane “Skip” Rogers then voted to approve the permit. Mayor Lori Cockrell attended the meeting but votes only to break a tie.
Morris commended town staff who worked on the permit with the church members and the commissioners for participating in the special meeting.
“I know the Rogers family and the Dynamic Life family have been very patient with us while we’ve tried to navigate this,” Morris said.
Rogers died earlier this year after leading the church for more than 20 years. Dynamic Life first needed the town to change the zoning ordinance to allow cemeteries by permit in a residential district, which council members did at a special meeting earlier this month. Council members then agreed to fast-track the permit through the approval process by holding a special joint meeting and public hearing as Rogers remained at a local funeral home awaiting burial.
Dynamic Life plans to build the cemetery on the northern part of its property and more than 250 yards from any residential lots in compliance with town regulations.
Elvi Rogers, the late pastor’s widow, spoke to council members prior to the public hearing.
“... And just on behalf of our family and on behalf of our church, our ministry, we just wanted to thank the council and all of you that have worked so hard to expedite this and called these special meetings,” Elvi Rogers said. “So it’s truly meant a lot to us and we appreciate the time you’ve put into this and so we are excited to see this be approved so that we can lay my husband to rest.”
After that vote, the council then held its regular meeting during which members approved an ordinance to add a $400 application fee for processing Local Board of Building Code Appeals applications. Morris said the fee falls in line with what Warren County charges and the $400 goes to pay stipends to members who serve on the board and cover some of the costs of staff time. No one spoke at the public hearing on the fee.
Also at the council meeting, members voted to:
• Approve an ordinance to amend the town code chapter pertaining to Business, Professional and Occupational Licensing by adding definitions of mobile food unit and new business; information to licensing requirements; and add mobile food unit to the chapter on licensing of peddlers and itinerant merchants. No one spoke at the public hearing on the code changes.
• Amend the current budget to reflect an additional $480,000 in unexpected revenue and to transfer that amount from the general fund to the street fund in order to allocate more money for the transportation plan, paving projects and the Criser Road sidewalk project.
• Approve a $26,625 bid for a remanufactured transformer for the Fleet Maintenance Department from Jerry’s Electric Inc.
• Approve a $60,336 bid for circuit breakers from Meyers Controlled Power and $206,730 for voltage regulators from Howard Industries, all for the Happy Creek substation expansion project.
• Approve a $54,832 bid for equipment for the Public Works Department dump truck from Godwin Manufacturers.
• Approve the removal of five years or older of unpaid utility accounts totaling $47,314 from the town’s ledger for the rest of the fiscal year ending June 30.
The council then met in closed session to discuss appointments to fill vacancies on the Front Royal Economic Development Authority. Members also met in closed session to consult with Town Attorney George Sonnett Jr. about litigation involving the town and the Front Royal-Warren County EDA; proposed agreements for promotion of economic interests and tourism with Discover Front Royal Inc. and Warren County; and proffer amendments proposed by HEPTAD LLC for the Anna Swan Estates development.
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